Sunday, September 04, 2005

Obviously a Major Malfunction

"Obviously a major malfunction"--- those were the icy, technocratic words of the capcom announcer at Nasa when the shuttle Challenger disintegrated in early liftoff back in 1986.

Well as early as last Sunday morning, when Katrina became a Category 5, someone should have assumed the worst and ordered some actual troops to be prepositioned, just based on the experience of Hurricane Andrew if nothing else. Instead we see a major malfunction of the system. And the same technocratic disconnect initially.

I remember at one point last Weds., because of 2 shots, it was announced that all rescue boats would "stand down" , until further notice.
Meantime over at David Corn's web blog, I found this reminder of what was accomplished during Dunkirk , when thousands of private boats had Stuka dive-bombers to worry about, while they attempted to evacuate British & French troops> http://www.davidcorn.com/. I will let the rest speak for itself:


"I see that the [Louisiana] governor is committed to moving everyone out in the next two days. What is really obscene is that we plan to bus them 350 miles, in school buses, to another sports area, although this one will have electricity and air-conditioning.

That is not how a country responds to disaster, and it is pathetic that our government and leadership cannot expect or inspire more. I was thinking about the comparison to Dunkirk, when the British military fell victim to a massive miscalculation about the strength of Nazi troops (the parallels abound). The British figured out, on the fly, how to evacuate 338,226 troops between May 26 and June 4, 1940, from the beaches of Dunkirk, often using small privately owned craft to get in out to the shore. (I Googled it. No, I didn't remember it from Dr. Miller's history class in White Plains High School.) Over 200,000 were also evaluated from other coastal towns. This was all accomplished with little or no time to plan, under fierce bombardment and aerial attack. Legend says the troops were treated to hero's welcome with special trains and high tea waiting at the British shore.

We are pathetic."

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

John I am just finding this now. I understand we all have our views about what happened and you have spent alot of time writing this.i just have a concern that Rinpoche and our shanga is mentioned in this article since we were not consulted or asked if we could be part of this article. I have never heard Rinpoche say anything about our government in a negative or encouraged us to to talk in any way about our govenment. He teaches Dharma and helps us with our minds.
I am glad you advertised our activity to help victums of this storm but I wish you would have done it seperate from your opinion of what happened with the government.

I am wondering if you could exclude us from this article.